Bounds is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he met and briefly dated John McCain's national communications director Jill Hazelbaker. The team was recently nicknamed the "dynamic Duck duo" in an Oregonian article. Bounds was an Oregon media aide for the 2004 Bush campaign; he later went to work for the Republican National Committee, and joined McCain's presidential campaign in 2007.
A frequent public spokesperson for the McCain campaign, Bounds himself made news after his September 1, 2008 interview with Campbell Brown of CNN news led John McCain to cancel his own scheduled appearance on CNN in protest. That interview concerned McCain's then-recently announced running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's "experience and readiness to be commander in chief." According to an LA Times news blog, "Tensions -- and voices -- rose after the anchorwoman told Bounds that she was just 'trying to get someone from the campaign to explain what foreign policy experience [Palin] has.' Bounds repeatedly skirted the question, choosing instead to criticize Barack Obama's lack of executive experience."
According to the transcript published by CNN, when Bounds was pressed to give reasons why Palin was qualified to act as vice president, he replied that Palin had "as much experience as" Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama in terms of holding a state office and in foreign relations." As an example of Palin's experience, Bounds said, "She's been the commander of the Alaska National Guard that's been deployed overseas. That's foreign policy experience." When asked to cite one National Guard-related decision Palin made, Bounds stated that she would be in charge of making "a decision how to equip or how to command the national guard in Alaska." On August 31, 2008, Major General Craig Campbell of the Alaskan National Guard told an interviewer that for foreign as opposed to in-state operations "the entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations."
By September 16, 2008, gossip blog Gawker claimed that Tucker had "officially been told off on all three big cable news networks" over his interview replies: in addition to the incident with CNN's Campbell Brown, he had on-air skirmishes with MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell and Fox News' Megyn Kelly.